STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) – Baylor coach Art Briles accepted another Big 12 championship trophy and stated his case that the fifth-ranked Bears should be considered the league’s “One True Champion.”
Now the Bears have to wait and see on what seems a long shot for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
After Baylor grabbed a share of its second conference title in a row with a 38-27 victory over No. 9 Kansas State on Saturday night, Briles acknowledged having a somewhat brisk conversation with Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the podium in the middle of the field during the trophy presentation.
Despite the much-repeated “One True Champion” slogan for the only power-five conference with a round-robin schedule and no championship game, Bowlsby has publicly said that Baylor and TCU (both 11-1, 8-1 Big 12) will be presented as co-champions to the playoff selection committee even though the Bears beat the Horned Frogs 61-58 on Oct. 11.
“Don’t say one thing and do another, that’s my whole deal,” Briles said. “If they had said from the get-go, co-champs and head-to-head don’t matter. I’m OK with it. … I’m not obligated to him. I’m obligated to Baylor University and this football team.”
While Baylor and TCU tied for the top spot in the conference, the Horned Frogs have been ranked higher in all six weekly playoff rankings – all after the Bears’ home win over TCU. The Frogs were third, three spots ahead of Baylor, heading into the selection committee’s final meeting Sunday. The final rankings will be announced on TV during an ESPN playoff selection show at 11:30 a.m.
“There’s so much of this season to be proud of regardless of what happens,” Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said, adding with a smile that he was intrigued by what will happen.
TCU has won seven in a row since its loss at Baylor. The Frogs, who beat Kansas State (9-3, 7-2) by 21 points last month, earned their share of their first Big 12 title with a 55-3 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Petty completed 34 of 40 passes for 412 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his final home game, a week after suffering a concussion that forced him to the sidelines in the Bears’ win over Texas Tech.
Not medically cleared to play until Friday, Petty showed no ill effects of the concussion. The senior put his head down for a 1-yard TD run only 1:35 in, capping an opening 81-yard drive that put Baylor ahead to stay.
“There’s one true champion and it’s the Baylor Bears,” Briles screamed to the celebratory crowd after the victory.
While Bowlsby was presenting Baylor its championship trophy – after giving one to TCU about 90 miles away more than seven hours earlier – Florida State was wrapping up its win in the ACC championship game. A few minutes after that, Ohio State wrapped up the Big Ten title. Those are the two teams immediately behind TCU and ahead of Baylor in the most recent playoff rankings.